AWA in 2021: Looking Back at Our Most Popular Posts

With yet another year in the record books, we took a look at the past twelve months to review the posts that resonated the most with our followers. It was a busy year, highlighted by our participation in the High Peaks Advisory Group, a visitor use management pilot project, and the launch of our Wilderness Webinar series. One of our goals for 2021 was to grow traffic to our website, and indeed the number of views nearly doubled compared to 2020.

What follows is a listing of ten of our most popular posts over the last year, including new site features, Wild Thoughts, and of course the core issues we care about most. These are the pages that received the most views between January 1st to December 31st 2021, and which were published no earlier than December 2020. It represents an interesting medley of topics by a variety of contributors, with some surprising entries.


1. Forgotten Cabins of the Forest Preserve

In January, we published our discovery of three abandoned cabins — two of them in protected wilderness areas — that the state should have removed years ago. This was handily our most-viewed post in 2021, and to our knowledge we were the only group tracking this issue.


2. Preserve Follensby Pond!

This one is almost a no-brainer. People always want to know how they can help to protect wilderness, and in December we posted one suggestion: calling Governor Hochul to express support for the full acquisition for the Follensby Pond Tract near Tupper Lake. And our followers responded! Within just a short amount of time, this page rocketed to become our second-most viewed page.


3. Paul Schaefer’s Winter Ascent

People love a good adventure story, and this account of Paul Schaefer’s 1931 snowshoe ascent of Crane Mountain has received hundreds of view since it was posted just over two weeks ago.


4. High Peaks Advisory Group

In 2019, we were one of a small number of groups invited by the Department of Environmental Conservation to participate in the High Peaks Advisory Group, or HPAG for short. This was a citizens’ committee intended to come up with a list of recommendations for addressing management concerns in the High Peaks Wilderness and surrounding areas. This put us in an excellent position to publish the group’s official report in March 2021, just ahead of other outlets.


5. Explore the Adirondack Wilderness

One of our goals has been to make our website an informational resource for people seeking to learn more about wilderness in the Adirondacks. One of our major steps in that direction was the addition of our Explore the Adirondack Wilderness page, which currently provides links to detailed descriptions of 13 wilderness areas and 2 wild forests. (More such daughter pages are planned in the future.) This has proven to be a popular feature. Which areas do people seem to want to learn about most?

  1. West Canada Lake Wilderness
  2. Little Moose Wilderness
  3. William C. Whitney Wilderness
  4. Silver Lake Wilderness
  5. High Peaks Wilderness

6. Trails in the Mountain Pleasure Grounds

Barbara McMartin (1931 – 2005) was a popular writer in her day, combining her interests in mathematics, history, and hiking to become one of the region’s most celebrated authors. Shortly before her passing in 2005, she shared an unpublished article with Bill Ingersoll. This essay described her take on the history of trail building in the Adirondack Park. Broken into four segments and published in installments during the summer, Part 2 became on of the most popular posts on our Wild Thoughts page.


7. Remembering Paul Schaefer: Camp Life at the Cataract Club

Another post on the life and times of Paul Schaefer garnered a lot of attention. Two men who hunted with Schaefer in the 1960s and 1970s shared their personal experiences — and never-before-seen photos.


8. What to Watch in the AMR’s “Permitting Pilot”

In the spring, the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) announced a parking permit requirement for its popular High Peaks Wilderness trailhead. Many people had questions and concerns about how this would work. So did we.


9. A Message to the Adirondack Wilderness Community

Our Wild Thoughts feature was conceived as a community resource in which thoughtful writers and photographers can share their love and concerns for wilderness. One such contribution by Tyra Olstad rocketed to popularity in August.


10. Wilderness in the Presence of History

When we think of wilderness we mostly think of untrammeled natural landscapes. This post from June reminded us that the concept of wilderness should also be expanded to include prior human occupancy of the land — especially in the case of Sagamore, where that history can be difficult to ignore.


Other Notable Posts from 2021 You Should Definitely Check Out

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